23 Jul 09
The Department of Health has re-launched guidance designed to help GPs advise men who request PSA testing for prostate cancer.
The recommendations made in the guidance remain the same, and men over 50 are entitled to have a PSA test free on the NHS, provided they have made an informed choice based on the PCRMP materials and a GP consultation.
The DH asked for the information and guidance on PSA testing to be reviewed following the publication of two papers in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year, one of which found the risk of dying from prostate cancer was reduced by 20% in a screened population.
The guidance, contained in the prostate cancer risk management programme (PCRMP) has been revised to reflect the new research, and a literature review and a primary care group at the University of Oxford.
In a letter to GPs this week, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: ‘The revised materials are the latest step in addressing these difficult issues, but more work is ongoing.
‘Following the publication of the NEJM papers, the UK National Screening Committee has commissioned the University of Sheffield to undertake an independent academic analysis of the data from both trials to inform a formal review of the advice on prostate cancer screening. Updated advice will be published in 2010.’
Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes said: ‘We have reviewed the pack to ensure all recent research and information is included.
‘These updated materials will allow primary care practitioners to provide the latest advice to their patients, helping men to make an informed decision about whether or not to have a PSA test.’
The pack will be sent to all GPs in England over the next four weeks.